PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Bloody Marys with breakfast? People in Punta Gorda may soon be able to buy and sell alcohol much earlier on Sundays. While business owners welcome the extra income, some local religious leaders worry it's unnecessary.
92 year old Helen Wrobbel says, times, 'they are a-changing.' "I can remember in Punta Gorda when all stores were closed on Wednesday afternoons," Wrobbel said. "Sunday, stores were closed."
Currently in Punta Gorda you can't buy or sell alcohol until noon on Sunday. But when a citizen questioned why people couldn't drink things like Champagne and Bloody Marys at Sunday brunches, City Council is looking to loosen the ordinance, allowing sales to begin at 7 a.m. and end at 2 a.m., just like the rest of the week.
"I think it's business-friendly," Mayor Harvey Goldberg said, "Particularly in this economy, with restaurants, private clubs, as well as retail outlets, and if people want to buy an alcoholic beverage and be responsible about it, all the better."
Some local businesses are thrilled with the idea. They say having a few extra hours to serve could have a significant impact on the cash register."A lot of people like to wake up on Sundays and enjoy a nice a Bloody Mary so it loosens the restrictions and enables them to generate revenue from an area that's been locked out for a long time," Chris Evans of Smuggler's Enterprises said.
One man commented to council members, "It was in the paper this morning, and I said, what a blessing!"
But for Pastor Jim Stultz of Peace River Baptist Church, "blessing" isn't the first word that comes to mind. "Alcohol unravels man, it unravels families, in unravels society," Stultz said."If we can have a little half-day reprieve, I am all for it."
While City Council unanimously agreed to move forward, the proposal still has to pass through Council two more times before becoming an ordinance.